12,000+ attendees, 1,000 volunteers, over 40 National and local acts, and countless causes have made OakHeart Country Music Festival what it is today. And heading into its 5th year, OakHeart is striving for more. On June 4th they’ll continue their tradition of giving back – to Manna, Meals on Wheels, K9s for Warriors, and more – and bring new national acts and local talent to music fans in southern California. Rodney Atkins will headline the festival and perform his 20M+ downloaded song “Take A Back Road”, and “Farmer’s Daughter” among others. This year’s lineup will also include Josh Thompson, Chase Bryant, Honkey Tonk Boom Box, Ryan Bexley, Hannah Rose, The Other Words, Jake Parr, Just Dave Band, The People, and Rebel Heart.
The Rotary Club of Westlake Village puts on the country music festival annually to raise money through tickets sales for local, national and international charities, including K9s For Warriors, whose mission it is to provide service canines to warriors suffering from PTSD or traumatic brain injury, and Manna, who is dedicated to ensuring no person goes hungry in the Conejo Valley, in addition to other charitable organizations.
“Our work has allowed us to raise over $75,000 for K9s for Warriors, among other causes. We couldn’t be more happy with the festival and how it helps us do what we do”, said Dapper Spar, President of Rotary Club of Westlake Village of the festival’s fundraising efforts.
Jennifer Schwabauer, Executive Director of Manna, noted how important the work of Rotary is to accomplishing their goals: “The support Manna receives from the Rotary Club of Westlake Village is invaluable. It enables us to provide families and seniors with a wide variety of fresh produce, dairy and meat items that can used to make warm hearty meals. Without Rotary’s support Manna would not be able to provide the wide selection of food items it now offers.”
OakHeart’s mission has been to bring the community together since its start in 2012, when organizers Brian Hynes and Troy Hale joined with Rotary to raise funds for their many causes, and create an event for the residents of the Conejo Valley and beyond. To date, they’ve donated monies to Wounded Warriors Project, the National Breast Cancer Foundation, End Polio Now, Our Community House of Hope, Meals on Wheels and Children and Family Services.
It’s been a successful event in other ways as well. 3 sold out years and top-notch national performers have enabled the event to draw even bigger crowds, and city officials are now allowing its capacity to expand by 1,000 attendees. The OakHeart team, along with over 200 volunteers, are ramping up both on-site and off-site facilities to accommodate the new crowds, including off-site parking locations, shuttles, a second dance floor, expansion of the beer garden, more “Kid’s Korral” activities, food trucks, restrooms, ATMs, and an expanded the main stage.
Local bands who have been involved since the very first festival are excited for the progress. Dave Bernal of the Just Dave band, who performed the first year, remembers what it was like to be anxiously awaiting the crowds, and how it feels today: “It was noon and we watched the first people make their way through the gate, across the grounds, hoping they’d make it over to see us play. In the years since, I watched it grow to a sold out event, with lines outside, two stages, and the most important local day of the summer. The community needs days like this, that treat families to amazing national and upcoming acts, and treats national and upcoming musical acts like family. So many great local country bands have a challenge competing with the machine that is Nashville. Here we can share a musical bill with national acts on the radio today. California Country has a great home at the Oakheart Festival.”
The team at OakHeart is optimistic for its future. Their hopes are to eventually expand to 10,000 attendees, and continue to attract the larger-market fans from Stagecoach and Coachella, many of whom already attend. But OakHeart is proud of its home-grown roots, and the event they’ve created to bring their community together. Hannah Rose, who will be on stage this year, along with 6 other local bands, mentioned what she loves most about the festival: the people that come. “The crowd is enthusiastic, respectful, there to have fun, and a part of my hometown. I’m just excited to be a part of it”.
Complete festival information can be found at www.OakheartCMF.com.